Suwannee River Cafe (Fargo, GA)

Suwannee River Cafe (Fargo, GA)

This is a great little restaurant and the employees are some of the friendliest you’ll find.  With both a buffet and menu of excellent choices to select from,  you are certain to leave with your appetite satisfied.  If you are just passing through, they’re used to people being surprised by Fargo’s isolation.  They’ll gladly give you advice, directions, and any tips you might need on rambling in the area.  They also have a nice collection of local relics, as well as some beautiful handmade canes and walking sticks for sale.  It is definitely worth a stop.

The Ride

At 10:00am, myself and 8 other riders, Moto17Jax members and guests, pulled out of the Shell gas station on Chaffee Rd, west of Jacksonville, just south of I-10.  We didn’t take I-10 as we headed west.  Due to the chilly mid-40s temperature, that was probably a good thing.  Instead, we crossed over I-10 and headed west on US-90.  US-90 is a fairly scenic 2 lane which essentially parallels I-10 across the majority of 5 southern states.  It’s eastern end is where it intersects with SR-A1A in Jacksonville Beach, Fl, just 3 blocks from the Atlantic Ocean.  The west end of US-90 is in Van Horn, Tx, where it intersects with I-10.  We would only remain on US-90 for approximately 25 miles.  Once we arrived in Sanderson, FL, we turned north on CR-229.  While we could have simply stayed on US-90 and picked up US-441 in Lake City, taking CR-229 north allowed us to extend our ride – and – ride through nearly 20 miles of Osceola National Forest.  So, 8 miles northwest of Sanderson on CR-229, which also put us 2 miles into the eastern side of the national forest, we turned southwest on CR-250.  20 miles later we would intersect US-441 at Five Points, on the north side of Lake City, Fl.

Osceola National Forest is at the southern end of Florida’s portion of the Okefenokee Wilderness, which includes the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and Okefenokee Swamp.  Osceola National Forest was created by President Herbert Hoover’s proclamation, on July 10, 1931. It is named in honor of the Native American Seminole warrior, Osceola.  The forest is made up of approximately 200,000 acres of pine flatwoods and cypress-hardwood swamps. Within the forest there is one wilderness, the 13,660 acre Big Gum Swamp Wilderness, and one state historical site, Olustee Battlefield State Historical Site.

While our ride through the national forest was excellent for scenery, and adding time and distance to an otherwise short ride for our group, it had its cost in terms of a drop in temperature.  The air temperature indication on my bike, which read 48° as we entered the forest, was showing 41° as we traveled the deepest parts of the forest.  This drop proved to be too much for one member of the group.  So, when we arrived at the US-441 intersection, 2 of our number turned back for home.

After a brief stop to make sure everyone was okay, and understand the situation, the remaining 7 headed north on US-441 toward Fargo, Ga, and our final destination.  The remaining 40 miles would take us initially along the western edge of the Osceola National Forest.  Once we were about a third of the way to Fargo, we would be riding between the Suwannee River to the west and the Okefenokee Wilderness and Swamp to the east.  The Suwannee River originates in the Okefenokee Swamp and runs south into Florida were it feeds the natural springs enjoyed by countless swimmers, snorkelers and divers.

All too soon, we arrived at the Café.  However, as is usually the case, the time spent with good friends, enjoying a good meal and conversation, was itself equally rewarding.  By the time we finished at the café the temperature was up to 50° and the sun was shining.  So I took the long way home.  East to Fernandina Beach and south, along the Atlantic Ocean, through Amelia Island.  Rode the ferry across the St Johns River, then rode SR-A1A south through the Jacksonville Beaches, to home.  A beautiful 250+ mile circle, and time spent with good friends, truly makes for a perfect day. 

Fargo Ga

Fargo is a beautiful Southern community with a taste of down home hospitality. The city is a prime destination for eco-tourism, nature photography, canoeing and kayaking, and many more outdoor activities. Shop for folk art and regional antiques, and taste barbecue and other local cuisine. You should also consider visiting their historical society, genealogical library, and the fully sustainable and innovative welcome center.

Fargo is located near the Okefenokee Swamp and is the western gateway to the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. Also nearby is Stephen C. Foster State Park.  The Suwannee River forms the eastern border of the city.  U.S. Route 441 passes through the eastern side of the city, leading north 28 miles to Homerville, Georgia, and south 39 miles to Lake City, Florida.  Georgia State Route 177 leads northeast 17 miles to its end in the Okefenokee Swamp at Stephen C. Foster State Park.  In April & May 2007 Fargo was threatened by the Bugaboo Scrub Fire, the largest wildfire in Georgia’s history.

Okefenokee Swamp

The Okefenokee Swamp is a shallow, 438,000-acre, peat-filled wetland straddling the Georgia–Florida line. A majority of the swamp is protected by the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and the Okefenokee Wilderness. The Okefenokee Swamp is considered to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia, is the largest “blackwater” swamp in North America and was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1974.

The name Okefenokee is attested with more than a dozen variant spellings of the word in historical literature. Though often translated as “land of trembling earth,” the name is likely derived from Hitchiti oki fanôːki “bubbling water”.

The Okefenokee was formed over the past 6,500 years by the accumulation of peat in a shallow basin on the edge of an ancient Atlantic coastal terrace, the geological relic of a Pleistocene estuary. The swamp is bordered by Trail Ridge, a strip of elevated land believed to have formed as coastal dunes or an offshore barrier island. The St. Marys River and the Suwannee River both originate in the swamp. The Suwannee River originates as stream channels in the heart of the Okefenokee Swamp and drains at least 90 percent of the swamp’s watershed southwest toward the Gulf of Mexico. The St. Marys River, which drains only 5 to 10 percent of the swamp’s southeastern corner, flows south along the western side of Trail Ridge, through the ridge at St. Marys River Shoals, and north again along the eastern side of Trail Ridge before turning east to the Atlantic.

Video

Eddie, Moto17Jax organizer and ride leader, produced a video of our ride.  He graciously allows me to include them in my posts.  

Resources

Route Map


 

GPS Files

Click the link below to download a zip file which contains the route for this ride in 4 formats (gpx, gdb, kml, csv)

Suwannee River Café GPS Files